Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Can you teach and old dog new tricks?
I guess it's safe to say that I am no longer the young hip mom I always thought I was! Today I was "attempting" to play a video game with my son, emphasis on attempting, and even though he was so patient with my ruining his active game I failed miserably! Video games have come along way from Super Mario Bros. and I just COULD NOT get the hang of it. As I hand him my controller and admitted defeat he says "I guess maybe the saying is right... you can't teach an old dog new tricks". WOW, and old dog? OUCH!! It's true I am not as able to keep up with him as I once was, but seriously. Am I really OLD? My parents are OLD, my elementary school teachers are OLD, but not me... right??
Well I am choosing to say that it's not an issue of age, but rather interest! I know if I REALLY put my mind to it I could figure out how to play and most likely DOMINATE that game! That's just not where my interest lies. I think this is where the communication loss is alot of times with our children. I used to get so aggravated with my mom because she seemed to want us to come in from school and LOOK for things around the house that needed to be done. This wasn't where our interest was though, in most cases our interest was in an after school snack, a couple of cartoons and in later years that all important phone call from someone who now we probably don't even remember.
My mom, on the other hand, had interest in running her household and raising responsible and contributing members of society.
Now I see through those same eyes. So how do we get our children to understand that before they're adults? How do we get them to understand the importance of well placed interests? Well, when someone figures that out I would love to know, but for now I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I think just might be working.
1. I try to always rationalize with my child. My hope is that if he understands that we are all working together for the same cause and that these are things he WILL NEED to know how to do on his own that he will take a more active role in helping out. I don't want him to feel like I'm just barking orders at him with no real purpose other than wanting him to get up and DO SOMETHING. I want him to WANT to help because he knows I need the help and that he is learning to do things on his one that most college freshman are just learning when they leave home for the first time.
2. I always try to respect his time. How often are we involved in a project or activity and know we have a task that we need to do and choose tend to the chore when you get to a stopping point. Well think about how your child feels when they are right in the middle of something really important to them, though not so important to us, and we ask them to stop on a dime and perform a task? I'm not saying I let him choose if and when he will get things done but I like to give him a time frame to get to a place where he can walk away and handle what I've asked him to do. If I always expect him to just put down what he's working on and move onto what I want done, then he will start to feel that his projects aren't important to me. Don't get me wrong, I do catch myself slipping from time to time and forgetting that his work is just that, HIS WORK, and it's important work to him! This is a hard concept for me though because I was brought up to believe that when my parents said jump my ONLY response was to be 'How high?' oh and 'Yes ma'am'. :) Respect is something we want to teach our children to give regardless of the circumstance, but I feel we have to lead by example, as with most character issues.
3. I ALWAYS want to show him my appreciation! It's easy to put together a chore chart and just expect that it get done because "that's his job", but who doesn't want to feel appreciated? This isn't to say you always need to reward them, but you SHOULD always praise them. Even if it's something so small as chores getting done earlier than normal or for doing them with a smile on his/her face, praise shows appreciation and this teaches them not just that they aren't taken for granted but also not to take others fro granted.
Well, there you have them, my super secret, ultra powerful, mom tricks! :) It helps to keep in mind that they are just smaller versions of us, constantly learning and developing what type of adult they will become. It also helps to remember that they will be the ones caring for you when you are older. LOL